Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Carolina Slaw

I'm not posting the recipe here, but rather relaying my experience with it.  I often say that something simple is "hardly a recipe".  Well, Carolina slaw is the opposite of that.  It is an intense recipe for a very simple ingredient: cabbage.  There are good recipes out there, and I encourage anyone to try them.  But, know this, it's difficult, time consuming, and requires special equipment.  It's worth it.  Carolina slaw is elevated so far beyond the supermarket slaw or restaurant slaw that I've always had.  I was never truly impressed by a mayonnaise based slaw.  While the dressing in Carolina slaw does have certain similar elements - egg based, for instance - it is far more complex.  Even though it's difficult, the techniques are not new to an advanced cook.  If you've made seven minute icing, then it will be very familiar. Carolina slaw is one of the recipes that brings deep satisfaction to the experienced chef.

That feeling - a profound sense of accomplishment - is something less valued in the kitchen in the 21st century.  We prefer quick and easy - but flashy.  We like to impress, but are less concerned with personal satisfaction of a job well done.  We want the simplified, not the simple, as Nigella Lawson once wrote.  Carolina slaw won't be coming into fashion in the food world anytime soon, and all the better.  Those private pleasures for cooks of knowing about recipes like these is better than winning a reality television cook off championship.  There's something about keeping old ideas alive that resonates with a different kind of person than one who only wants to innovate and go viral.  I have no problem with my blogs going viral, but that's not why I write.  It's also not why I make Carolina slaw.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cauliflower Cheese

When I was a child, cauliflower cheese was as common as macaroni and cheese. When one was offered, usually both were.  My mother's homemade mac and cheese left much to be desired.  However, her cauliflower cheese was my go-to comfort food, and still is.  Somehow, it's missed the resurgence of macaroni and cheese. It seemed to disappear just before low carb diets took off years ago. Here at the cottage, I'm happy to keep this old fashioned favorite alive.  I have improved the recipe quite a bit over the years.  I've come around to the classic approach, while still keeping it gluten free.

Monday, April 7, 2014

An Honor To Prepare the Deacon's Luncheon

With great pleasure, I accepted the honor of preparing the deacon's lunch for the staff luncheon at church.  She also has celiac disease, and was pleased that a special meal could be made for her in a gluten free kitchen.  I am making a humble soup and salad, with another couple of women bringing a salad and gluten free desserts.

Today, I made my broth as I normally do.  I always have home made chicken bone broth on hand.  Tomorrow, I will thicken the soup with a potato starch roux, instead of flour.  I haven't decided whether I'm doing a cream of celery, or a vegetable soup.  I have the makings for a club sandwich with gluten free deli meat, Udi's gluten free white bread and my own homemade mayonnaise.  I think the secret to a really amazing sandwich is the homemade mayo; there's no substitution.  I prefer grapeseed oil, when I can't afford the French olive oil (which, is almost always.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Good Broth

A Good Broth feeds the soul.  It is so much more than stock.  It's the go-to for illness and fatigue.  It's warmth and comfort.  It's scraps and ends transmogrified into glory.  Knowing that rubbish cures the common cold brings a smile to my face.  Other people throw away chicken bones and soggy celery.  I seize them like treasure.  After hours bubbling away in the stock pot, I savor the expressions of those savoring the broth.  I relish the assurances that I've created something amazing and healing.  I boiled up bones!  That was it.  Nothing remarkable.

The Cottage now smells amazing.  The scent lingers long into the night.  I make stock often enough that from October to May, the house never quite loses the note.  With any luck, this particular batch will comfort the colds the boys suffer with now.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Coconut Sugar?

Here at the Cottage, I've decided to cut back on the sugar for all of us.  I, myself, went sugar free months ago, excepting when out socially.  Now, we are on the last bag of sugar for the other family members.  It's going very slowly, since I'm not using it.  When it's gone, it's gone.  After that, I'll be trying out other options.  The first on my list will be coconut sugar.  I don't know if it will make acceptable home made cookies.  I am making very few gluten-free versions of foods that might use any sugar.  We've moved in different directions, and it may be easier to go without.  We'll see which new approach works best for us.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Successful Amaranth Flat Bread Wrap

I have a few tweaks to make before I have the final recipe.  However, I did it; I made a gluten free flat bread.  I made a wrap sandwich with it.  It was great.  I couldn't believe it.  It took inspiration, unusual technique and boldness.  I can't imagine too many others have stumbled on what I did.  I'm so impressed with my innovation, that I don't quite know if I want to post my recipe here for free.  I may hold back and publish it otherwise.

I was amazed to discover I had a use for amaranth.  I have struggled with what to do with my amaranth flour.  I knew that others have had success with amaranth tortillas.  Tortillas are the traditional recipe for eating amaranth.  Somehow that didn't work in my kitchen.  The texture was all wrong.  They were too difficult.  The flavor was too strong.  Then, I had a revelation.  Amaranth does not need to piggie-back on maize flour.  Amaranth can be its own star.  It doesn't need to be an add it for nutrition on another dish.  It takes approaching it with a different eye, though.

That's enough of a tease for one post.  However, I would love to see some amaranth inspiration out there.  I wouldn't want to be the only one rediscovering just what this food can become in brave kitchens.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lacto-Fermenting Gluten Free Crepes

I tried lacto-fermenting my gluten free crepes overnight.  As with the gluten flour, it is sublime.  I made crepes just as delicious as the French do.  It is absurdly easy, as well.  All I had to do was blend the flours with the milk, and add a tablespoon of live-culture whey poured off the yoghurt.  I set it at room temperature overnight.  Then, in the morning I added the egg and melted butter, and made the crepes.  No need to let it sit for at least twenty minutes, as I would if I were starting first off in the morning.  Crepes are faster this way.  Both steps seem easy-breezy, when broken down into these two parts.  The texture is amazing.  My only regret is that I added sorghum flour.  I should have kept it to millet and rice.  Next time, I'll try that.  Either way, I have my final version of excellent crepes.